The rise of the UNgrad.
I am Jamie. Given that the majority of people reading this don’t know me, this may or may not come as a shock to some of you. If you have known me since my younger years, you might be surprised to learn that I did not finish college. If you recently met me, you may still be surprised.
You see, let me start off by saying that I did not want to go to college. I knew from the start, it wasn’t something I wanted to do. All my life I felt like we were told to go to college so we could get good jobs and be a successful member of society. By the conclusion of my senior year in high school, it was just about a given that we would all go to college and be someone. I graduated pretty high in rank, although I will be the first to admit that it was easy and I did not apply myself 100%. I didn’t do a lot of things.
I got accepted into college and didn’t have to pay a dime because my GPA was still miraculously good and my mom didn’t make a whole lot of money. In fact at the time she wasn’t making any money at all because of a car accident. I worked (between 20-40 hours a week) and was involved in numerous extra curricular activities (NHS, Cheerleading, Yearbook) I played the game. Until it was actually game time.
I hated college, well not exactly the college experience, but the education. You see, I was an English major, yet I was still required to take classes like “History of Rock & Roll”, “Biology” and “Weather & Climate” to satisfy the curriculum requirements of the university. WTH did that have to do with teaching English in secondary education like I wanted to? The simple answer… nothing. I won’t get into my thoughts right now about the flaws in the education system, I will save that for another day. I lost interest, and eventually completely screwed up my GPA.
One year after graduating high school I had 24 completed hours of college credit, 12 failed hours and a major surgery to have my appendix removed. After I got out of college I started actually doing things. I got a job. I had a kid. I got married. I had a kid. We bought a house. I had a kid. Everything was going pretty great until it seemed like everyone I went to school with graduated college.
For those that were self-disciplined enough to finish a degree, I commend you. I however; did not have the drive or attention span to do so. I tried several times to go back and finish. In fact, I changed my major to business because that is what I am interested in, and would you believe I failed marketing class… twice! And this was after building a successful business! The methods they were teaching were no longer applicable and go figure, the professor didn’t like me pointing that out!
In all honesty, not everyone I went to school with has a degree. In fact, a good majority does not. However; due to the classes I was in and the people I was around, the percentage of people that I actually communicated with in high school that obtained a degree, is pretty high.
The Acceptance of the UNgrad
All of that is being said because, I have been fairly successful in life (with the exception of a few major failures) and I don’t have a degree. I always carried that around like a monkey on my back. Partly because I like to finish things that I start, and partly because everyone just assumed I would get a degree and become someone successful. The problem began in elementary school when they started prepping you for college at the ripe age of 5. Progressively that propaganda got worse, until we were all lead to believe that is the only successful path in life, to go to college, get a degree and then start your career (in debt for most people mind you). The system is flawed, and it is really so far gone that it cannot be fixed.
I have met and worked with some amazing people in the past 15 years since I graduated high school. And I believe I have a message that needs to be heard. You are somebody. You are important. A paper hanging on your wall does not make you who you are, YOU make YOU who YOU are. You are unique. You have capabilities that no one else has. You have untapped potential.
Do not let anyone tell you any different (including your inner-self). You have to make a path for yourself. Seek education, learning and enrichment in other activities if you find the traditional path is not for you. Do not bash yourself or base your self worth on your lack of a degree or formal education. Life lessons are a far better teacher than the theorists at the college level.
Just because I (you) are not doing what everyone else is doing, doesn’t mean that what you are doing doesn’t matter. Your worth is not based on a degree or diploma. It isn’t based on your salary or debt to income ratio. It is based on YOU and your output in this world. You don’t need a college education to make a difference in the world. Start with the world around you and Be the Change you Want to see. Believe you can and you will!Jamie Koppi - The College Ungrad